Tracking the Number of Downloads of the PDF of the June 2011 Issue of Carolina Arts

The roller coaster ride continues, for now – on the downside of the hill. As of the first ten days of June, there were 38,328 downloads of the June 2011 issue of Carolina Arts. Compared to the first ten days of May, when there were 41,731 downloads – June is 3,403 off the mark. But that’s not the end of the story. That story won’t be known until the end of the month – anything can happen.

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This isn’t bad considering that the total downloads in April were just 31,408. Listen to me say “just”. For 23 years we only printed 10,000 copies of the paper.

I expected the onslaught of the Summer heat to have an effect on our totals, but I wasn’t really sure which way it would go – up, as more people are spending time inside away from the heat or down, as people began Summer vacations – away from their computers.

I was expecting a race to the top between the March and May issues, but a few days into looking at the stats I noticed something was wrong and it sure was. There didn’t seem to be any downloads for the May issue. That was odd and I soon found out why. During the end of the month shuffle loading up the June issue we forgot to make a link for the May issue in our Past Issues archive. That explains that, but even after we made the link for the May issue – after ten days there were still no downloads for May. There were none for the February or April issues either.

But, by ten days in June – I said June – there were 4,315 downloads for our March 2011 “cult issue”. People or someone really likes that issue. In total, since we launched that March issue, it has been downloaded 70,517 times – as of June 10. That’s one popular issue. I hope one day we find out why.

A respectable 116 people had downloaded our January issue – so what gives with the three other issues?

I decided to take a look through the stats to see when those issues would show up. Items are listed 1 – 10,001. We have many more pages than that in our archives, but the server only tracks the top 10,001. So our stats are just a look at the top third of items that can be found on our website. This month – as of the first ten days, 200,218 folks looked at those pages.

This was going to be no easy task looking at 50 entries at a time – this was going to take some time. But, I was listing to a great Steve Winwood CD on my computer – Nine Lives – so why not take a further look?

There was no sign of the three issues in the first 1,000 entries – which really surprised me.

The 1000th entry was a tag category from my WordPress blog, Carolina Arts Unleashed. It was the Carol Sanders Gallery – 33 folks looking for info about that gallery ended up finding a blog entry we did on Apr. 9, 2011, about this year’s Artista Visita event in Columbia, SC. The Carol Sanders Gallery was just listed as a participant in the article, but we listed it in the tags.

I continued looking through the list, but no sign of any downloads of the three missing issues.

The 2000th entry was an article from our website’s archives offered in July 2003 about the South Carolina Watercolor Society’s 26th Annual Exhibition, which was on display at the Anderson County Arts Center, in Anderson, SC. That was before the group changed its name to the “SC Watermedia Society” – 20 folks took a look at that article.

That’s how the list works: number 1 was the 38,328 downloads of the June 2011 issue of Carolina Arts and once you get down to the 2000′s – it’s down to just 20 people who looked at that page.

I continued to scan the list with my eyes, but no sign of those pesky PDFs.

The 3000th entry was an article from our archives offered in January 2002 about M. Mellany Delhom and her ceramics collection at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC – 10 people had called this article up in an Internet search.

At the halfway mark I found an article about an exhibit being offered at e.r.l originals in Winston-Salem, NC, featuring works by Philip Koch, Elaine Reed, and Freeman Beard from January 2002. You’all remember the e.r.l. originals gallery don’t you? I know a lot of artists will never forget it.

What’s interesting about this is we also have an added note placed above the article dated 7/22/05 where we posted a bit of news from the Winston-Salem Journal stating that ” e.r.l.’s owners, Peter and Lee Swenson, and the company they operate, Bogart Management Group, were foreclosed on by their bank.” We added this to our historical document when we learned that these folks who had apparently lived high off the hog (their artists) by selling artworks, but not paying the artists the money due to them or the rent or their bank for past loans. We learned they were using our old articles to convince artists and art buyers that they were still up and up when they were trying to set up a new gallery in another town.

Some folks wanted us to take the articles about e.r.l. originals out of our archives, but I didn’t think that would be fair to the artists who did have those exhibits. So we found all the articles posted over the years and added our little update. Hopefully our additions put a stop to the Swensons using our old articles as a sign that they were good people to deal with. History is history, but it doesn’t mean you can’t add updated info.

Still no sign of the missing issues. I was seeing a lot of downloads of individual pages from those issues, but no downloads of the entire PDF of the issues. Very strange.

At entry 7,254, I found an article about the Weatherspoon Art Gallery (now Weatherspoon Art Museum) in Greensboro, NC, first offered in Oct. 1999, about a faculty art exhibit and the announcement of their Falk Visiting Artists for 1999-2000 – which 5 people looked at. Why would someone be looking at something so old? Maybe it was some of the faculty members doing a Google search of their own name.

At this point my eyes were blurry and I was ready to pronounce the February, April, and May issues of Carolina Arts – DOA – dead on arrival. In fact they hadn’t arrived, meaning that if I kept looking 5 or less people will have downloaded any of these issues. At this point I didn’t care anymore. I thought I knew why May wasn’t showing up, but since there was also no sign of  February or April – maybe I was wrong. Maybe they’ll make a respectable showing by the end of the month.

I’m no archaeologist, but sometimes it’s interesting digging through the past and that’s exactly what some people will be doing in the future when they what to learn about what was going on in the visual art community in the Carolinas during our time of doing this paper. We have our print archives as do several university libraries around the Carolinas and we have our digital archives.

If you want to make a little history, you better get yourself into an issue ofCarolina Arts.

And, as always, we ask if you like Carolina Arts – help us by spreading the paper around by e-mail or on social media. Send people to (www.carolinaarts.com) to see what going on in the visual art community in the Carolinas this month.

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